Can Your Credit Report Keep you From Getting Hired?

You’ve got the skills. You’ve got the experience. But you’re worried your credit reports may hold you back from getting that dream job. And to make matters even more aggravating, you have no idea what exactly the hiring company will be looking for on the reports. While it’s not possible to say exactly what any particular company looks for on a credit report when making hiring decisions, there are certain items that employers frequently mention as credit-related reasons for passing over certain candidates. Here’s a list along with what steps you can take to address the impact of the negative information.

Judgments
With a judgment, there is the possibility that your wages could be garnished and that could mean some extra work for the employer. That’s not a very rosy outlook for most companies. Get copies of your credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at 877.322.8228 or www.annualcreditreport.com and contact the listed court with jurisdiction for your judgment(s) to arrange a payment of the debt.

Late payments
As long as the information about delinquent payments is accurate, you won’t be able to legally remove this information. However, what you can do is string together a nice series on timely payments to help send the message that those problems are in your past. This can help to create an image of reliability in an employer’s mind.

High debt levels
Debt load is often overlooked by those who will have their credit reports examined by others, whether it’s for a job application, home purchase or other reason. If you have been out of work, it is understandable that you may have been forced to put some expenses on credit cards. However, paying down your balances aggressively on your revolving accounts can help you seem more in control of your non-work life. This is especially important for jobs where you will be handling money or for which security clearance is required.

Unresolved collection accounts
Collections accounts can appear to a hiring professional like you lost control of your financial life at some point. This in turn can lead them to question your ability to manage the tasks they would entrust you with. Like with late payments, it’s a good idea to try to demonstrate that the collection accounts are in your past. The best way to do this is to arrange a deal with the collection agency so that these accounts will be marked as settled. This won’t remove the accounts from your credit reports, but it will show that you took responsibility and resolved them.

Keep in mind that employers are forbidden from using bankruptcy against you in making a hiring decision. So don’t hold off on applying for a job that checks credit just because you have a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 in your credit files. It can also be comforting to know that most companies say that hiring decisions rarely come down to credit report concerns. But you never know when having a strong credit history could help make the difference in getting that job.

Revised January 2016.

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